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Skin Type Specimen



15. Structure 29. Typography 47. Imagery 65. Paper Mechanics 75. Oversights 83. Evaluation




Layout Choices



180 mm

Size and Shape

220 mm

The relatively small size of the overall publication reflects the personal, intimate content, as I feel a larger format would make it more overwhelming and potentially off-putting. This small scale makes the publication easy to handle and allows the audience to make physical contact with a lot of the book, demonstrating how we use our skin to interact with the world around us and aid us in everyday tasks such as holding a book.



The Grid System


The grid that I decided to create to frame the content of my publication consists of 5 columns with a 3mm gutter to allow for negative space in the arrangement of text and images. This creates a natural flow around the page for the eye to follow, and allows the content to not be overwhelming to the viewer. The 6pt inside margin allows room for binding in a stab stitch format, without reducing legibility and clarity of the images. The 3pt margins around the rest of the spread keep the page size consistent.

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Another aspect of the book that does not fit completely obviously into the grid are the diagonal lines used throughout to differentiate titles from body text, and to underline subtitles. 86

Vitiligo (noun)

I used lines at an angle of either -20째, 20째, -40째 or 40째 to maintain some visual consistency throughout while deviating from the grid.


1. a condition in which the pigment is lost from areas of the skin, causing whitish patches, often with no clear cause.



Organisation Throughout




Stock Choices

I decided to name the various chapters of the book after slightly more ambiguous things, rather than the obvious ‘birthmarks’, ‘scars’, ‘moles’ etc, as I wanted the reader to be able to put some thought into the various sections.

I wanted my book to include a variety of papers so that the reader would experience a variety of weights and textures while turning the pages, in order to illustrate the different types of skin and how everyone’s skin is different.

For example, the chapter primarily about birthmarks is entitled ‘Imperfections’, as I was interested in exploring the theme of imperfection, and how this can be applied to the way a person looks.

The final stock that I decided to use was; Gesso 140gsm Splendorgel Extra White 120gsm X-Per Premium White 100gsm Mohawk Eggshell 148gsm Tracing Paper 160gsm The Mohawk is a textured offwhite paper which works well with photographs placed on top. The combination of textures, colours and weights in a completely random order makes the book less predictable and more organic and surprising.



Front Cover Although I debated constructing a more solid cover for my book, I decided that ultimately the tracing paper first page worked well as a cover, as it is an unexpected front cover for an unexpected and new take on an exploration of skin, something that we take for granted and so not generally consider. Rather than concealing the content of the book, as a front cover normally would, the translucent stock allows the beginning of the book to be partially viewed, reflecting the see-through quality that skin can have in places where it is thin, such as the eyelids and between the fingers. I feel this front cover reflects the content of the book in that we should be revealing rather than concealing our skin imperfections, as the best thing to do is be confident about our bodies and accept our imperfections for what they are; a part of what makes us individual and interesting.



Covering Wrap In order to protect my book a bit more and to add another dimension to the outside of the document, I screenprinted the title onto fabric that suggests skin in colour, and will wrap the book in this. I will have the fabric only loosely wrapped around the book, as I want it to be easily accessible. I feel the fabric with add another tactile level to my book, forcing the reader to come into contact with more of the book, and to use their own skin to assist them in using the book. I used quite large pieces of fabric, as I want this to reflect the large expanse of skin that we are all covered in.



Binding The book is bound in a Japanese stab-stitch format, inspired by medical diagrams for skin sutures. I wanted the method of binding for the book to reflect the method of binding used to repair damaged or broken skin. I achieved this by drilling holes at 22mm intervals down the left side of the book, 10mm in. These holes were then used to bind the book together in a similar manner to skin sutures.



My birthmark


I was born with a port-wine stain birthmark above my right eye, and a ‘strawberry mark’ beneath my left eye, which was large and threedimensional. Luckily, the strawberry mark quickly decreased in size and had almost completely disappeared by the time I was 4 years old. The port-wine stain above my right eye will probably never fade, and is likely to deepen in colour in relation to hormonal changes such as pregnancy.

I am lucky in that I have never really had to think about my birthmark, as it is relatively small and contained to my eyelid. It has not affected my life in any way whatsoever, as people tend not to notice it or if they do they are just politely curious; I often forget myself that it’s there.

This section of the publication is smaller, unassuming, and less eye-catching in order to reflect the content; as it details my experience of living with a birthmark which hasn’t really affected me at all. The choice of paper stock is thin and pink in colour to draw a stark contrast between this section and the others, emphasising the idea that there are many different types and textures of skin. I created this smaller insert as I wanted to highlight how lucky I feel I am that my birthmark has not affected me, and wanted to demonstrate this in the scale of the spread.



The other tip-ins used throughout the book were used to highlight which pages of the book contain primary research interviews with people about their skin imperfections and scars. The stock used for these tip-ins was a combination of pale pink and light pink-purple 80gsm paper, as I wanted it to look and feel quite different from the rest of the book. This also allows for some show-through of the next page, encouraging the reader to turn the tip-in so reveal the text or image beneath. The alternating colours I felt made it a bit more visually interesting to flick through a section containing a lot of interviews.


An interview with Jacki Lawson



Font Choices and Expressive Type



For the body text I decided to use Palatino 10pt with 14pt line spacing. I chose this serif font as the content of the book is based in medicine, so I wanted the font to reflect this fairly formal tone. However, I wanted the tone of the book to also be relatively conversational and approachable, particularly as the interviews are colloquial and easy-going. To achieve this balance, I decided to also include the sans-serif font Corbel, which I used for titles, expressive type and individual quotations.

Palatino, designed by Hermann Zapf and released by Linotype in 1948.

Corbel, designed by Jeremy Tankard for Microsoft and released in 2005.



6 pt

r o b C

1 l 3 e Palatino 10pt, 16pt line spacing



Corbel 16pt, 20pt line spacing




6p no 1


tl 20p


ac e sp




72 70


I’m going to get it tattooed into a unicorn!


’s B




Ally has a cafe-au-lait birthmark on her right arm that is about an inch in length, and surprisingly, in the shape of a rearing horse. “When I was younger people used to tell me it looked like the shape of the UK, but they now tend to tell me it looks like a horse, the Ralph Laurent polo logo or a seahorse, so maybe it’s changed shape? It gets a little bit darker when I tan, but it’s never really effected me otherwise.”





This larger type is also used for single quotations from each interview, to give the reader a quick point to read before launching into the interview itself. I feel these large quotes work well with the large macro photographs, as part of the image is obscured, encouraging the audience to take a closer look in order to understand the image. For example, the image on the right depicts a birthmark that is slightly harder to make out with the text on top, and the text itself creates another imperfection on the skin.


The expressive type used sporadically throughout is placed in an attempt to reflect the fluid, unpredictable nature of skin, and how it can stretch and bend to allow our bodies to move.


Expressive Type


For example, the ‘Protection’ section title is curved to illustrate how the skin wraps around our bodies to protect us from bacteria and other things.

“Yo u hap now w p tiss ens to hat ue. It’s scar stro th n you gest p e a r sk in.” rt of


el R


. Ma







The ‘Damage’ section title is broken in the middle to illustrate the damage that can be done to skin.




The epidermis is constantly renewing itself, with dead cells falling off by the tens of thousands each minute, and new ones replacing them, at a rate of about 30,000 to 40,000 cells a minute. Every year the body sheds around 9 pounds of skin.



The epidermis (outermost layer of skin) is thin and tough, and acts as a protective shell for the body.


While the grid is used to place content and images while allowing enough white space to guide the eye around the page, the layout of some of the pages throughout the book are seemingly random, in order to make the book less predictable and more organic, reflecting the nature of skin.





The word ‘skin’ is highlighted within the larger typography to continually remind the reader of the topic of the book. 19

By the skin of your teeth

very in, By a w marg o r r t na jus nly or o mal). r o f (in

I decided to use two colours to make the text a bit more visually pleasing.



ten n o C


4. Introduction 6. Translations 12. Description

20. Protection


24. Waterproof 26. Protection against unwanted substances 28. Melanin 34. Pores 3

The folios that I decided to create for my book are set vertically on the outside edge of the pages in 10pt Corbel to draw a contrast between these and the body text on each page, without being too dominating and obvious.

38. Imperfection 40. Birthmarks 42. My Birthmark 44. Myths 46. Causes and Treatments 50. Interview with the BSG 78. Skin as it Ages 86. Vitiligo 98. Damage 102. Scars 132. The Healing Process 138. Treatments 142. The Notion of ‘Imperfection’



Angled Text

I did this in quite a randomised way in an attempt to make the book more unpredictable and interesting.


it , as rgan our y est o larg cent of area dy’s er ace e bo nd 16 p rf th is u a su Skin up aro nd has . res) a es mak weight, (1.8 met y et bod six fe ver of o Skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis is the outermost layer, and the dermis is beneath that.



The dermis consists of blood vessels, nerve endings, and sweat glands. It also contains collagen and elastic, allowing it to stretch. These proteins keep it strong. This layer contains nerves, which allow us to feel things such as heat, cold and pain.


The lowest layer of skin is called the hypodermis, and is made up of subcutaneous tissue (fat), which insulates the body and controls temperature. It also connects our skin to the bone and muscle beneath it.




In order to add some visual interest and irregularity to large chunks of text, occasionally some paragraphs are offset from the rest, or rotated at the same angles as the subtitles.

Use of Lines



One of the purposes of the epidermis in terms of protection is it’s waterproof qualities.



er Wat

This layer of skin contains a substance called stratum corneum, which are tightly-packed-together cells that protect your body from harm. It also prevents your body from secreting too much water.

Adults have around 5 million hairs on their bodies, and about 4.9 million of the corrosponding pores are so small they aren’t noticeable. Only a very small proportion of pores can be seen.




Every hair on your body corrosponds with a pore in your skin. Some pores appear to be larger and more noticeable than others due to the thinner, much smaller hairs protruding from them.

Dirt and oil collect around pores, and they can become clogged with dead skin cells. When bacteria gets into pores, inflammation can occur. This is why it is important to maintain clean and healthy skin. Scratching at the blockage only adds more dirt and stretches the pore out more. There isn’t anything that can be done to permanently shrink large pores, but there are ways in which they can be shrunk partially.


I decided to underline some of the subtitles to differentiate between sections and create some continuity and make it more uniform, but these subtitles were set at an angle to make them sit differently in relation to the body text that they are associated with. The underline is set as a wavy line that is 3pt in thickness and offset by 5pt. Other chapter titles, which the subtitles are within, are not underlined, but have diagonal wavy lines bisecting them at the same angles as the subtitles and rotated paragraphs, creating some continuity visually throughout the book. These bisecting lines do not reduce legibility as they are thin (at only 1pt), but instead lead the eye to the title before anything else on the page by creating an abstract, unexpected shape.



Colour, Images and Page Furniture



I created these simple illustrations so that they would not be too dominant on the page, but would add to the text.



Makes my skin crawl


I have used the wavy line that is used for underlining text to illustrate some of the spreads. For example, with the phrase on the right, I layered wavy lines on top of one another to illustrate the feeling and ‘motion’ of crawling skin.


Colour Scheme As I wanted my book to be relatively light-hearted and visually interesting for the viewer, I decided to use a limited but bright colour palette to draw the pages together and create consistency in visual effect throughout the book.

C: 0 M: 81 Y: 44 K: 0

The colours that I chose to use are based the colour that birthmarks and moles can be; colours that remind me of skin and skin imperfections. I kept the colours fairly pastel and light so that they weren’t too bright and overpowering, but still draw the eye to particular words and content.


C: 31 M: 62 Y: 71 K: 15


Illustrations I also created hand drawn illustrations to complement the content of my book. I used very minimal colour and basic lines so as to be aesthetically pleasing but not too overpowering.



Photographs The combination of larger images and macro photography throughout provide the viewer with a variety of images, some of which you have to look at closely to understand, and provide you with more detail, and images that provide you with the skin in context. I feel the photographs used throughout the book help to make the content more visual and exciting, and add colour to the pages.



Cut Up Photographs To add another level of interest to the images in my book, I decided to edit some of the photos to create more interesting shapes and angles, with the white space created aiding in leading the eye around the page. I feel that these images work really well on a spread, as the negative space between them creates a whole new shape of it’s own. These different shapes and angles reflect the undefined, randomised nature of skin.



Tracing Paper I purposefully printed double sided on the translucent tracing paper within my book, as I wanted to create some interesting show-through and combinations of text and images without reducing legibility and visibility. I feel these pages work really well with one another, demonstrating the translucency of skin in places such as our eyelids and between out fingers where the skin is thin.





Watercolour Illustrations To work alongside the illustrations and photographs, I also created some watercolour illustrations based on the irregularity in shape and colour of birthmarks and moles. I created these as I wanted my book to contain a range of different textures and mediums, again to give it more of a natural, organic feel. I feel these illustrations work well in and around the text in the ‘Imperfection’ section, becoming small colourful imperfections themselves on the white pages.


I also contained some of the watercolours within set circles, juxtaposing the organic shape, and creating more structure on the page, which I thought was quite aesthetically pleasing.


Paper Mechanics Folds, Tears and Wrinkling



Paper mechanics have been used throughout the book to further illustrate the points that have been made. For example, tears in the paper are put in place to demonstrate how skin can be torn and damaged. These holes also allow the text and images beneath to be partially revealed, encouraging the reader to continue on in the book. I also feel that these tears make the pages feel more organic, as the raw edges are exposed. I feel this encourages the reader to be more tactile with the book, using their skin to experience the content rather than just reading it.





Another mechanism put in place is cut out shapes that suggest a vague generic scar shape to reveal images and text on the page beneath in a tactile, visually interesting way. In the section that is about wrinkles in the skin, the paper itself is wrinkled to further aid the content. This section of the book is reduced in visibility, but hopefully the reader would be encouraged to smooth out the page to be able to look at it in it’s entirety, meaning more physical contact is made with the book itself.Images depicting wrinkles are also wrinkled up themselves, further developing the content.



Folds Folded back sections demonstrate secondary research; interviews sourced on the internet to enrich the primary research already collected. I collected research in this way as I found that vitiligo was a topic that I would not otherwise have been able to get much in-depth research for. I wanted to clearly differentiate between between primary and secondary research, hence the folded pages.




Things To Improve On Or Add



Additional Chapters


Other sections that I would like to have included were; albinism, acne, skin diseases such as cancer, etc, however I ran out of time to add more information before sending the book to print.

Overall I am pleased with the way that I have bound my book, as I feel that it is simple yet reflects the way that skin is sutured quite effectively.

This shows me that I need to organise my time slightly better to generate all the content I want in the time frame, allowing for printing and binding time. I am however very happy with the sections that I have included, and feel that additional chapters would have enriched the book, but are not entirely necessary.


However, due to the thickness of the book binding needle that I needed to use, the holes I drilled in my book had to be 2mm wide, which is slightly wider than the thread, making it a little bit loose. Regardless, I feel the binding works well and is strong enough to hold the book together.


Imperfection 1. a fault, blemish, or undesirable feature.

Scars are a reminder of the past; things like accidents and surgery and misdemeaners. Birthmarks can sometimes be considered unsightly. Many people would like to rid themselves of their skin ‘imperfections’, but I believe that our scars and marks make us interesting and individual.

Typographical Errors

If we can accept our skin for what it is, in all it’s imperfection, we would be well on our way to being content with ourselves and our past selves, regardless of the mistakes we have made or the cards we have been delt. Everyone views beauty in different ways, however I feel that confidence in yourself is important in looking and feeling beautiful.

Following receiving my book back from the printers, I have annoyingly noticed some typos. 143

No skin is completely ‘perfect’, or exactly the way it was when we were born; unblemished, soft and supple. We carry the marks of our past actions, and I think that that creates a narrative, and makes us all unique from one another. Our differences are what make us interesting.

I now know that I need to be more thorough with my proofreading before sending anything to print.

Our ‘imp us, erfe an ct us m d alwa ions’ a re ys emo who rabe will be a part o . l we are. , and h They m f elp to d ake efin e



Layout Improvements Where some of the interview tip-ins work really well with the content beneath, for example laying in line with the edge of an image, or completely covering a section of text, such as the examples to the right, I could have thought more about the organisation of the content based around the tip-ins. Some of the pages don’t work as well as these examples, and I feel it would look more thought out it the tip-ins all laid along lines on the page beneath.






Overall, I am really pleased with the outcome of this project. I feel I researched my topic thoroughly, and although it could have been expanded upon, I am happy with the content of the book. Although there are improvements that I feel I could make, such as the length of the binding reducing legibility slightly, and other errors, I feel the scale and length of this project has allowed me to broaden my knowledge on book design and the use of InDesign extremely quickly, which has been very rewarding.



Paris Daley

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Type Specimen